Official time 11h 28min 36s
Left Mallaig where I live at 5am and started from Inverness Great Glen Way start/finish stone at around 7:15. I got a lift from my brother-in-law Ryan. I am really grateful for that!
As always a week before a long run I am obsessed with the forecast to prepare for the worst. Forecast was wet and snowy so I got ready. Carrying all my safety equipment and extra layers weights quite a bit and I might feel it over that distance. But I had to be ready. The weather was about to surprise me! After 5 light snow showers it all cleared up and the sky was blue! What a day to do the route! I realised I will have to carry all my gear now without the need to use it! It doesn’t really matter the sun was out!
Really lots of sun and blue skies!
I felt super strong from the start! I carried all my food and gear which was pretty heavy but I had to be sure I have enough of the quality stuff. Better to have more than not enough! I was eating through my Mountain Fuel Gels regularly even when I didn’t feel hungry. Better to prevent it than later pay the price for not looking after yourself! Not a bad start anyway! I will see how this will work out! The real time to beat was 13h 25min 1s by Daniel Rowe-leete. After my supported run on the 13 th February 2022 I was confident that I am going to finish in decent time but I didn’t know what to expect and there is always that ‘what if’ factor. I kept repeating my mantra over and over again – ”Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.”
First leg to Drumnadrochit went really well and I was 5min up the schedule from my February finish. That gave me a massive mental boost. It felt nice and steady and I am making time here!
When I got to Invermoriston my quads started to cramp up but after few salts it quickly stopped and I felt great again ready for the next climb. I was 5min up on my schedule. I got really surprised as I felt really strong and didn’t make much progress. I had to focus here and make sure that the next section will be better! I will try to feel comfortable and keep pushing without stopping, unless to fill up water from a stream. I was very picky with my water refills. I made sure they are very easy access, maxium 1.5m away from the main path with easy reach. If something involved balancing on a rock to get to it I was avoiding it and going for the next one. There is many rivers going down those hills so I could be picky about it.
Then a surprise came! When I landed in Fort Augustus I was 19min up my schedule! Wow! this is crazy. I was feeling really good and going really well. I had to stop for 2 quick minutes to get a small stone out of my shoe which was giving me a lot of discomfort on the downhill to Drumnadrochit. I used this time to get my earphones out of my flask pouch and quickly mount them in my ears and secure them under my cap to prevent them from dingling and dangling what always annoys me.. Time for the ‘Canal Hell’. This is a stretch of flat running along the Caledonian Canal. A very repetitive leg movement which causes some stiffenning in my knees as I am not a road runner! I prefer the hills! I just call it that way… as there is not much happening here. Beautiful views but constant rhytmic pounding on the ground.
All went well and I kept going really good to my surprise. clocking in very good times, much better than 2 months ago!
At Laggan Locks I was 19min up. My legs started to really hurt here. It’s only pain.. and it’s temporary.. it will go away. Mantra in my head – ”Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.” It really helped. I crunched my teeth and kept going.
When I got to Gairlochy I was 21min up my schedule! Yes! This is shocking and feels really good!
16km to go from here. Game on and time to check what’s left in the tank or how much my legs can take, as my fuelling worked really well! Mountain Fuel Sports Nutrition is really easy on my stomach and gives a great punch! All down to my body! With so much daylight it felt really nice. The sun was charging my batteries and I kept pushing, drinking and fuelling regularly.
Getting closer to places I know I started to #speedup. And to my surprise I was running 5:00/km on average. Hard work…
Finish! My wife and girls came to see me with Helen and Davy. So good to see them all. I could hear them shouting from hundred meters away!
Time? I finished 25min faster than my supported run from February! This is amazing!
I think I’m ready for some real food now!
I am well and truly broken.
Extra. Story behind odd socks..
I put them on this morning realising I have 2x left ones.. not a chance! I am not running with 2 lefties! The only one I found in a mad rush was a blue right one. Sorted! I like the odd socks!